R2-D2 (called "R2" for short and phonetically spelled "Artoo-Deetoo") is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe created by George Lucas. An astromech droid (referred to in the novel as a 'thermocapsulary dehousing assister'), R2-D2 is a major character in all Star Wars films. Along with his protocol droid companion C-3PO, he joins or supports Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Obi-Wan Kenobi in various points in the saga. R2-D2 has been played by English actor Kenny Baker in all six original Star Wars films and is due to reprise the role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first installment of the upcoming sequel trilogy, making him one of just two characters/actors along with C-3PO (portrayed by Anthony Daniels) to appear in all seven films.
R2-D2 was designed in artwork by Ralph McQuarrie and co-developed by John Stears but actually built by Tony Dyson, who ran his own studio called "The White Horse Toy Company" in the UK. Many scenes also made use of radio controlled and CGI versions of the character. Original props of R2-D2 and C-3PO are used as audio-animatronics in the queue area of Disneyland's Star Tours—The Adventures Continue attraction.
By Dean Hanley
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